Longtime Jayhawk Gary Louris returns home in the middle of a tour marking the release of his first solo album, Vagabond (Ryko). Unsurprisingly, the disc is reminiscent of the Jayhawks' trademark arid country-rock and echoes some of the pop elements that had crept into the 'Hawks' sound before they went into hiatus about three years ago. But the album's also distinctly Louris's, and he comes across as a seeker for answers that are elusive and ambiguous, opening his kit bag to reveal troubled musings that are philosophical and nowhere near resolution. Even the sage advice in "True Blue," "Strip it down to what you can believe in," remains unfulfilled. This intimacy is also reflected in Vagabond's gorgeously crafted sound, where Louris's often-brooding voice is given sparkling dimension by Josh Grange's pedal steel.
Tue., March 25, 7:30 p.m., 2008